39 dead in lorry: what role did EU migration policy play?

39 corpses have been found in a lorry northeast of London. The police believe the victims were migrants brought from Bulgaria - presumably via Holyhead in Wales. This route is apparently being increasingly used by human smugglers due to tightened security at other ports. Europe's press discusses the role of EU migration policy in the tragedy.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

When will Europe see the light?

Europe is accepting such incidents as inevitable, writes the Frankfurter Rundschau:

“For years the EU interior ministers have been complaining that human smuggling is a billion-dollar market that they want to combat. But with the migration and refugee policy they have pursued so far they achieve the opposite. The ever higher walls on their borders, the ever more rigid controls at home, and their insistence on adhering to the nonsensical Dublin system have allowed people smuggling services to flourish. When goods are in demand, prices rise. If the EU interior ministers went about creating safer migration routes, a modern immigration policy and an asylum system that deserves the name with the same fervour with which they go about sealing Europe off, demand for illegal entry would fall. How many people must die before they realise that their migration policy has failed?”

Avvenire (IT) /

Even cattle receive better treatment

The truck is a disgrace for all Europe, author Marina Corradi writes in Avvenire:

“Thirty-eight men and women and a boy were treated like cattle going to the slaughter. Worse, in fact, because livestock has a value and care is taken that it arrives at its destination safe and sound. These people weren't worth anything anymore because they'd already paid for their trip. ... This truck is the symbol of a despair that sealed-off Mediterranean ports can't hold back, of a pressure that will stop at nothing. ... Those who drown in the Mediterranean remain invisible. But this container, loaded like a cattle wagon, is a thorn in Europe's heart. ... After 1945 we believed that in this part of the West humans would never again be treated like material with no value, left to die en masse.”

La Croix (FR) /

EU must take action to eliminate smuggling

Similarly gruesome discoveries were made in Dover in 2000 and in Austria in 2015. How could this happen again, asks La Croix:

“This testifies to the unprecedented risks that migrants are willing to take in order to reach Western Europe. No obstacle can fully deter such determination. ... The second cause of these deaths is the appalling cynicism of smuggler networks that have no qualms about exposing their 'clients' to fatal risks if it means they can maximise profits. Many politicians in Europe are calling for routes to be closed to migrants, but very rarely do they put forward proposals to combat the smugglers, who will always be willing to offer their fatal services to those who dream of a better life - and risk their lives to achieve it.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Tougher controls only makes things worse

Not even cracking down on migrants and human smugglers can prevent such tragedies, The Guardian argues:

“A kneejerk response is to demand tougher controls: more security infrastructure at the borders; tougher punishments for the people who try to make these journeys and those who facilitate them. ... But, as is painfully apparent in so many parts of the world right now, there will always be people who feel compelled to travel even when the risks are deadly. Tougher controls push people to more dangerous routes, and to place their lives in the hands of smugglers who may be indifferent to their safety or actively looking to exploit them.”